Douglas Bastard's Rants of Rage

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This article was written on 16 Nov 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

The war on the EU

Hitler’s big idea was a war against Bolshevism. He imagined Germany pushing eastwards and building ‘lebensraum,’ literally, ‘living room’ for the people he supposed were his in the east. The war on the western allies was to give him freedom for this to take place and, from the moment the first shot was fired in Poland in 1939, war on Soviet Russia was inevitable. Hindsight tells us that this was insane, but it came closer to reality than anyone cares to admit, stalled a few miles short of Moscow by the Russian winter and then frittered away by a commander in chief who became fixated with Stalingrad to the exclusion of all else.

I mention this because the war against the EU may not have the same, mono-bollocked protagonist, happily dead in a bunker these many years, but it has the same language. While history might not repeat itself with any exactitude, much of the rhetoric caries eerie echoes of a time gone by, from the strange hostility towards other people who simply have Different Ideas about how they want to live which extends to wanting the institution they have chosen to govern them smashed, to identifying certain people as undesirables. The Jews are in the frame yet again for reasons nobody quite understands, and now they’re joined by Muslims, immigrants and anyone with a darker skin.

The aggressors are, this time, the US and UK, but they’re now joined, bizarrely, by Russia, who have territorial ambitions of their own, as can be seen in Ukraine, where we’re told that Putin has been provoked into annexing half of the country. The last time I was provoked, I kicked the coffee table and didn’t want to steal half of Ireland, but perhaps that’s just me. Either way, with the opposition to the EU being purely ideological in the case of the UK and US, as the EU is home to ideologies that give them a fit of the vapours, to Russia’s more territorial hunger, it’s not looking like an especially cheery picture.

Cuddly uncle Adolf had to be opposed by force of arms, but there are no signs that can happen. Instead, what we have is a war by any other means, but for parts of Ukraine, in which the people in charge, a grim alliance of May, Trump and Putin, want to will an area out of existence. If you think that the Brexiteers are happy to co-exist with Europe, you’re not listening to the mood music. They will the election of an overt fascist, Marine Le Pen, who they hope will pull it under and, as an added bonus, brutalise the people who are the focus of their ire – to wit, refugees. They hope that people who hate the EU will be elected cross Europe and destroy it from within, as well as wanting to see ideas that they happen to dislike – things like welfare and concern for others –  are stamped out. Why they can’t accept that some people like to live differently, I don’t know, but there we are.

Presumably, if their will is realised and the EU does fracture, Putin will smoothly carve up eastern Europe without much in the way of opposition. The Baltics will go first, followed by a slow, steady recreation of the end of the Second World War. The civilised version of Europe will end at the German border, while the gay-hating, Russo-nationalist version carries on behind it. You won’t be seeing Pride parades or anything like them, but you may get gay people put in prison for lengthy sentences and, presumably, anyone who isn’t obviously heterosexual will need to worry. Were I Finnish, then I’d perhaps resign myself to losing even more of the country than just Karelia, the bit hacked off by the Russians after the war, but we’ll see.

All of the above makes me like the EU more, not less. There are large numbers of people in the UK who agree and who in the US remain faithful to liberalism, but they’re irrelevant, because they’re outnumbered by the idiots. The conclusion I draw from this is that I’m better off in Germany or one of the Scandinavian countries, where my values are more widely shared, than in a place where they can’t even win an election. Maybe the EU will splinter, but it’s intact for the time being and that’s good enough for now. The writer Stefan Zweig killed himself when Nazism was at its height and, while I know I don’t have the courage for suicide, this seems like an eminently understandable reaction in this context.

Make no mistake: the death of the EU is the death of hope. It is the death of the idea that government is for all people, not just the white, able-bodied ones of sound mind, the death of the idea that if you contribute and if you cannot, you deserve help and the death of the idea that the national border you were born behind doesn’t have to be the national border you live your life behind. I think these ideas are worth fighting for and worth preserving, but not from within the US or UK which should now be regarded as being wholly lost to reason. People need to fight for them from within the EU, where they’re most desperately needed. And if I can find a job there, then that is what I plan to do.

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